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Sep 14, 2006 12:20 AM

Pizza Bianco @ Antico Forno

My husband and I had the pizza bianco from Antico Forno in Piazza Campo dei Fiori 4 years ago on our honeymoon. I've since sent a recipe request thru Gourmet and got no reply. I'm not foolhardy enough to think I'll be able to replicate it exactly--w/o a stone oven--but just have to try an approximation. Any suggestions? Recipes?

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  1. There's a recipe in David Downie's "Cooking the Roman Way". I've never tried it, because I'm yeastaphobic. If you don't have access to the book, I could print it for you.

    1. Just checked.. my local lib has the book. Thanks for the tip. If you're curious, I'll let you know how it turned out (you yeastaphobe, you)..

      3 Replies
      1. re: jbeaux

        Please, please let me know how it turns out. Just last week, I stood outside the kitchen door at Antico Forno and watched the bakers at work for at least 30 minutes. I can tell you from direct observation that the pizza bianca dough was very, very wet--almost slack, with a visibly shiny surface. I watched the baker throw flour onto a canvas covered board, then scoop up the wet, puffy, proofed mass with two broad hands. He stretched it slightly as he spread it out onto the board, pulling it a little so that it was about 2.5 times longer than the original mass. The board sat on a rack for about 10-15 minutes, until space in the oven opened up.

        I made focaccia on Sunday after my return home; it was good, but utterly unlike the pizza bianca. I'm betting on a long, slow fermentation as part of the process, and I'm running out to find Downie's book, too.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          In Jeffrey Stiengarten's book, It Must Have Been Something I Ate, he visits the Forno and goes home to NY to recreate the recipe. After several attempts, he manages to provide a recipe adjusted to our water and ingredients available in the US that is very similar.

          I have tried the recipe and agree it rendered extremely close results. The only variable may be the olive oil used, which can have dramatically different flavors depending on brand and region.

          1. re: CiaoCane

            Amazing, I actually own this book but read it a while ago, I can't recall ANYthing about it. I'm going to crack the spine tonight; if he can help me toward real pizza bianca, he's my new hero.

      2. hey did you ever find a good recipe. i was t here last summer and loved it.
        Dick Pereli

        8 Replies
        1. re: dickpereli

          Shoot, I've been remiss in replying to my own post. I did try Downie's back when bropaul suggested it. Would have to say mine turned out like focaccia too. Good, but a far cry from the real deal. Celeste - did you ever try Steingarten's recipe? Thanks, CiaoCane, for the tip. I'll have to investigate.

          1. re: jbeaux

            I found his recipe, but it wasn't so special--he focused mostly on double zero flour as the key. Downie's recipe gave me more insight on the resting & stretching. With a home oven, the special texture is not easy to achieve, though I've made several very edible attempts.

            1. re: Hungry Celeste

              Pizza bianca update: the Steingarten recipe is no good to me, because he focused on Forno Roscioli, and their PB is okay, but not nearly as good as Antico Fornl on the Campo di Fiori. But, take heart, the fearless baker Daniel Leader has come to our rescue with a damn good PB recipe in his new "Local Bread" cookbook. He spent time at the Forno on the Campo with the bakers, and he describes the bakery scene visible through the back doors to a T.

              No nonsense about OO flour, or magic roman water....just a professional baker's focus on the dough's high hydration; long, high-speed machine kneading, long, slow, cool fermentation, and fast/hot cooking. Just got the book a few weeks ago, haven't done the bianca yet. I did use his ciabatta recipe to great suceess, so I think I'll tackle the PB this weekend.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                I'm pretty sure that Forno Roscioli and Antico Forno are the same place -- full name is Antico Forno Roscioli. Here is their website:

                1. re: bcroyer

                  Antico Forno Roscioli and Antico Forno are two different places. Roscioli's bakery is on a street off the Camp dei Fiori, via dei Chiavari. Antico Forno is right on the Campo.

                  1. re: bcroyer

                    These two bakeries are DEFINITELY not the same place...two different places, with completely separate ownership.

                    One is on the Campo itself: Technically, the address is Campo di Fiori, 22. Just a few steps away, the bakery has a retail outlet open a few hours a day, offering sandwiches, etc. That address is Vicolo del Gallo, 14. This is the bakery visited by Dan Leader--whose recipe he captures pretty faithfully.

                    The Roscioli bakery is a short distance away on the Via dei Chiavari, 34. That's the one you've linked to....they're different places, with different owners. A visit to Roscioli is recounted in Steingarten's book.

                    Forno Campo De' Fiori
                    Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 22, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      I took some pics of the bakers at the Antico Vorno on the Campo, as well as the one in the old Ghetto. See 'em here at

                  2. re: Hungry Celeste

                    An update for the old thread: Jim Lahey's "Bread My Way" cookbook can lead you to near-perfect pizza rosso. Use the 2-hour pizza dough recipe, top it with tomato puree, and bake on a sheet pan--I kid you not--it is damn near perfect. I used his pizza bianca recipe (diff from the pizza dough recipe), and it was good, but not perfect (I think Leader's recipe is still better). I haven't gotten around to baking his "regular" pizza dough as a bianca-style untopped flatbread, but I will eventually.

            2. Not a recipe, for which see Downie or Steingarten, but you can see photos of the process shot at the Antico Forno in the Williams-Sonoma Rome book in the Foods of the World series.

              And please, pizza bianca, not bianco.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mbfant

                Bianca, of course. I should have known that. Thanks for the tip re: the photos.